Understanding and Ethics in Coleridge: Description, Evaluation and Otherness

  • David P. Haney


Students of literature have always been concerned with the relationship between description and evaluation, which is perhaps why the distinction between ‘fact’ and ‘value’, the relation between what ‘is’ and what ‘ought’ to be, is a natural concern of literary critics who turn their attention to ethics. In the early part of this century the distinction appeared in the division of labour between scholars who described texts and critics who evaluated them.1 Then we began to evaluate the merits of texts based on how well they could be described within a formalist and subsequently a deconstructive paradigm. Lately we have begun describing and evaluating with a vengeance: history has returned, descriptions have become ‘thick’ and anecdotal — but just as authoritative — and evaluation has moved from the aesthetic to the political.


Moral Philosophy Collect Work Ethical Relation Practical Philosophy Loeb Classical Library 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1999

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  • David P. Haney

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